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After pleading guilty to abuse in California, priest surfaces in Oklahoma parish

April 25, 2016

A priest who admitted to fondling a 19-year-old girl while stationed in San Diego is now serving at parishes in Oklahoma, prompting angry protests from parishioners who were not informed about the priest's past.

Father José Alexis DaVila, a native of Venezeula, entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of sexual assault in 2011. He was briefly returned to parish ministry after a suspension, then left California and eventually surfaced as a pastor in Lawton, Oklahoma. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City told reporters that "my staff conducted a full investigation," and determined that the priest was not a threat to parishioners. However, the Oklahoma parish was not informed about the priest's criminal record. On the contrary, parishioners were told that he was a refugee from Venezuela.

 
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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Apr. 29, 2016 6:14 PM ET USA

    Am I the only one that sees a difference here in that this man is attracted to adult women? Seems he lied about his past and no one checked into it and yes, his ministry days should be over in OK, but this incident likely won't bankrupt the diocese.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Apr. 29, 2016 3:31 PM ET USA

    That's right, everyone! Off with everyone's heads! Enough of that silly "Year of Mercy" thing based on Jesus' own instruction! Only *perfect people* in the Church - just like Jesus said! Oh, wait ...

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Apr. 26, 2016 2:07 PM ET USA

    Attention residents of the Diocese of Oklahoma City: Please begin making retirement party preparations for Bishop Coakley immediately.

  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Apr. 25, 2016 10:38 PM ET USA

    Local bishop needs to do due diligence. We Catholics are already walking on thin ice in the "court" of pubic opinion. It is the height of stupidity to play the "I didn't know card" while the butt-in-the-pew parishioners are counting on their leadership to keep safe the house. The priest, if guilty, should lose his faculties and be banished to some place where he can continue to worship God and reflect on his shortcomings without further endangering the flock; the bishop should be fired.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Apr. 25, 2016 7:56 PM ET USA

    Unbelievable! How many bishops give lip service to protecting their parishioners from these criminals in the priesthood? I hate to say it, but who but perpetrators would give these predators a pass? Doubt I'll see this printed,but there is not way to sugarcoat these actions by the hierarchy. It just goes on and on.

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Apr. 25, 2016 7:37 PM ET USA

    This Priest is a Pastor, no less! Another Bishop shoving "it" under the "rug". I would have thought by this time Bishops would have learned the lessonx of the past Hard to understand?

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Apr. 25, 2016 6:55 PM ET USA

    If this was a discredited police officer, this would not have happened. Isn't protecting our souls more important than protecting our cities?! What is the matter with our Bishops? Don't they get it YET? Didn't we give John Jay College millions of dollars to set up procedures in our dioceses to prevent this very thing! Why do our Bishops protect these criminals? This cannot be accidental; i.e., "Just slipped through the cracks". Someone did this and should be held accountable. Remove the Bishop!

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 25, 2016 6:37 PM ET USA

    This continuing trend convinces most Catholics that most diocesan administrations are either corrupt or inept. Bishop Coakley does himself no favors by announcing that his "staff conducted a full investigation," of Fr. DVila and determined that the priest was not a threat to parishioners.